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Massachusetts Service of Process for Divorce
Service of all process is effected by the sheriff, or by his deputy, or by a special sheriff, by any other person duly authorized by law, by some person specially appointed by the court for that purpose, or in the case of service of process outside the Commonwealth, by an individual permitted to make service of process under the law of this Commonwealth or under the law of the place in which the service is to be made, or who is designated by a court of this Commonwealth.
The divorce papers, which are the summons and the complaint, are served together. The plaintiff furnishes the server with as many copies as necessary.
Service upon an individual is made by delivering a copy of the divorce papers to him or her personally, or by leaving copies at his or her last residence and usual place of abode, or by delivering the divorce papers to an agent authorized by appointment or by statute to receive service of process, provided that any further notice required by such statute is given.
If the person authorized to serve process marks the return that after diligent search he can find neither the defendant, nor defendant's last and usual abode, the court may on application of the plaintiff issue an order of notice in the manner and form prescribed by law.
Personal service outside of Massachusetts may be effected by delivering the divorce papers in a manner appropriate for personal service within the Commonwealth.
If a person does not know where his or her spouse lives, or if the spouse lives outside of Massachusetts, the plaintiff must file a motion for alternate service and then, with court approval, publish a legal notice of the impending action once a week for three weeks notice.
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